Zoe Grisez and her family just relocated from Colorado Springs to Denver to pursue Zoe’s dream of attending college. Zoe has worked hard to earn her way into college as a first-generation student in her family. She turned down opportunities out of state due to the lack of medical coverage for caregivers and opted for an amazing program at University of Denver where she will be in their Honors Program and will also spend 4 years as a Puksta Scholar developing a social justice action plan that centers on disability access and inclusion in the community.
As a young adult living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy – a genetic, progressive neuromuscular disease – Zoe is completely dependent on her power wheelchair for mobility and requires a caregiver. For these transitions – home, school, caregiver team – to be possible, Zoe’s family home must also be modified. Her family reached out and applied with the Home Builders Foundation, a metro-Denver based nonprofit that builds independence for those living with disabilities through home modifications. After receiving the application, Zoe’s family was visited by staff and volunteers to assess the project. From there, HBF began sourcing a Project Captain to complete the work. Two of HBF’s partners, Accessible Systems and Ferguson Enterprises, lead crews to build ramps for Zoe.
“For our team to be able to help a deserving young lady like Zoe be able to improve her life and pursue her dreams brings us a sense of pride and satisfaction. It can be easy to take for granted the simple ability to leave and re-enter our homes, but participating in the HBF Blitz Build reminds us that it truly is a privilege to have that freedom. We love being part of the team that brings that freedom to dozens more families every year by donating our time and expertise to build the ramps that will enable them to have better access to the world outside of their homes. It’s a heartwarming experience, and gives us memories that last for years. We’re truly grateful to be able to participate in this worthy cause.” Katherine Balentine, Production Coordinator, Accessible Systems
Zoe’s ramp is the first step to increasing her safety and independence, and positively impacting her caregiver team. The ramp will allow her to successfully transition into the university environment and provide a safe place to return home.